|To appreciate nonsense requires a serious interest in life. - Gelett Burgess|
No. 192, 09 October 1991
USSR--ALL-UNION TOPICS AND RSFSR DISARRAY IN RSFSR LEADERSHIP CONTINUES. RSFSR Deputy Prime Minister Igor Gavrilov has sent a letter of resignation to RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin, TASS reported on October 8. Gavrilov criticized the new RSFSR leaders of continuing to fight a now weakened center, neglecting Russia's economic problems, alienating other republics, and fighting among themselves. RSFSR Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi echoed Gavrilov's criticism and warned of anarchy. He rejected the Alma-Ata agreement on economic union because it will make Russia a "milking cow" of the republics. Rutskoi told Radio Rossii the same day that instead of a broad economic union he favors a political union with few republics. Rutskoi expressed a firm wish to become Russia's new Prime Minister. (Alexander Rahr) BURBULIS ON RUSSIA TAKING OVER FROM USSR. RSFSR State Secretary Gennadii Burbulis told Interfax October 8, after returning from talks with Yeltsin in Sochi, that Yeltsin reacted "normally" to the proposal to declare Russia the leagl successor of the Soviet Union. Burbulis said that this move would formally abolish the center and break all ties with the republics. USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev, Burbulis added, reacted with "extreme anxiety" to that proposal. Burbulis also indicated that Yeltsin will veto the law on elections of heads of local administrations in Russia, adopted by the RSFSR parliament, because he does not want conservative forces to return to the periphery. (Alexander Rahr) STATE COUNCIL TO MEET OCTOBER 11. Gorbachev's press spokesman, Andrei Grachev, told correspondents October 8 that the State Council would meet October 11 to discuss the conclusion of a Union treaty and the creation of an economic community in the Soviet Union, TASS reported October 8. Grachev said that the prospects for a food agreement between the republics and and the reorganization of the all-Union KGB would also be discussed. Yeltsin is expected to return to Moscow October 10 to attend the meeting. (Ann Sheehy) UPCOMING SESSION OF REVAMPED USSR SUPREME SOVIET. On October 8 the interrepublican committee preparing for the first session of the revamped USSR Supreme Soviet, due to convene October 21, approved the draft provisional rules for the Council of the Republics and approved in the main those for the Council of the Union, TASS reported October 8. The committee also discussed the rules for joint sessions of the two houses. It decided to meet daily from now on. (Ann Sheehy) THE RSFSR AND THE USSR SUPREME SOVIET. The RSFSR Supreme Soviet adopted a resolution on October 8 stipulating that deputies representing the RSFSR in the USSR Supreme Soviet must be guided by the constitution and laws of the RSFSR, TASS reported the same day. The resolution sets out the basis on which the RSFSR delegation will decide how to vote in the Council of the Republics where each republic has only one vote. The resolution also stipulates that decisions of the USSR Supreme Soviet not supported by the RSFSR delegation must be examined immediately by the RSFSR Supreme Soviet or its presidium. (Ann Sheehy) REPUBLICS SUPPORT DISARMAMENT PROPOSAL. The RSFSR, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belorussia--the four republics where the bulk of the USSR's nuclear weapons are deployed-- were consulted on Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev's latest disarmament proposal before it was announced, The New York Times and The Washington Post reported October 9. Gorbachev's spokesman Andrei Grachev said at a press conference October 8 that the proposal reflects those republics' thinking and has their support. Grachev and other Soviet officials at the press conference sought to dispel concerns in the West that Gorbachev's authority to negotiate arms reductions is eroding. (Sallie Wise Chaballier) PANKIN ON EVOLUTION OF FOREIGN MINISTRY. Foreign Minister Boris Pankin said in an interview with Pravda of October 8 that he does not expect any "dramatic changes" in connection with the devolution of many of his Ministry's functions to the republics, although a "natural" distribution of authority and responsibilities is taking place. He noted that the first meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers, which he chaired, went well, adding that the republican Foreign Ministers were pleased that the meeting was not merely cosmetic. Pankin stressed that the all-Union MFA was serious about delegating some of its authority to the republics, a move which, in his view, is entirely logical. TASS summarized the interview in a dispatch the same day. (Sallie Wise Chaballier) JAPANESE AID PACKAGE ANNOUNCED. On October 8, Japanese government spokesmen disclosed details of an aid package for the USSR valued at $2.5 billion, Western agencies reported that day. The package is said to consist of $1.8billion in trade insurance, $500 million in credits for the purchase and transportation of foodstuffs and medicines, and $200 million in export-import bank credits. An unidentified Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman emphasized that the aid package had nothing to do with the Soviet-Japanese territorial dispute, and he denied that the size and timing of the package was in any way influenced by pressure from Japn's Western allies. The aid is "intended to support democracy and economic change in the USSR," he explained. (Keith Bush) SAUDI HUMANITARIAN AID PACKAGE. The Saudi Arabian ambassador to Washington told The New York Times of October 9 that his country has agreed to send $1 billion in emergency humanitarian aid to the Soviet Union this fall. This is in addition to the $1.5 billion in credits and aid pledged this summer. The ambassador stressed the urgent need in the USSR for food, clothing, and medicine from the US, Europe, and Japan during the next three months "if we are to avoid another shock to the system." (Keith Bush) GERASHCHENKO ON LIQUIDITY AND RE-SCHEDULING. Before leaving Moscow for the IMF annual meeting in Bangkok, USSR Gosbank Chairman Viktor Gerashchenko told a Western agency on October 8 that the USSR's foreign exchange reserves were nearly exhausted. He acknowledged that it would take time for the USSR to obtain full membership of the IMF and thus qualify for credits from that institution, but he denied that his country would seek easier repayment terms for its foreign debt (estimated, when commercial arrears are included, at $68 billion). Gerashchenko called for foreign assistance to make the ruble convertible. He criticized Western investors for their reluctance to commit funds to projects in the USSR and Western bankers for holding back credit lines during the recent upheavals. (Keith Bush) CPSU SAID TO GO UNDERGROUND. According to Komsomol'skaya pravda of October 1, elite CPSU and KGB officials have formed a "Party of Proletarian Dictatorship"--an underground network aimed at establishing communist control over the currently anti-Communist labor movement. Komsomol'skaya pravda said that the Party elite started to work out this illegal network as early as in 1987, when the first signs of the future banning of the CPSU became evident. The underground, the newspaper claimed, is very well organized and has an excellent financial basis, secret meeting places, safe houses, and other trappings of urban guerilladom. However, the communist moles reportedly do not plan to engage in any terrorist activities. (Julia Wishnevsky) ANOTHER CPSU TREASURER FALLS OUT A WINDOW. Georgii Pavlov, the 81-year-old former Administrator of the CPSU Central Committee's Affairs, committed suicide October 6 by jumping from a window of his 7th floor appartment, Soviet radio and TV newscasts reported October 8. The post that Pavlov held from 1965 to 1983 is believed to make its holder the only person who knows the whole truth about Party finances. Pavlov's successor in this post, Nikolai Kruchina, also reportedly threw himself from a window a few days after the decision was made to expropriate CPSU property. Arkadii Vaksberg, widely reputed to be the best Soviet legal columnist, wrote in Literaturnaya gazeta No. 35 that the events following Kruchina's death, such as the lack of an inquest, were suspicious. According to Vaksberg, the possiblity could not be ruled out that somebody "wanted to eliminate those who knew too much." (Julia Wishnevsky) DID KGB DESTROY EVIDENCE OF COUP? The state commission investigating KGB activities has discovered data about preparations for detaining leaders of the democratic movement, the new Chief of the KGB Analytical Department, Vladimir Rubanov, told Komsomol'skaya pravda, October 1. But, he added, many documents containing evidence against the plotters were destroyed at the time Dzerzhinsky's monument was destroyed. The main evidence, the list of potential detainees, was not found, while that published by Nezavisimaya gazeta was recognized as fake (see Daily Report, September 3). Former KGB Chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov's lawyer, Yurii Ivanov, told the conservative weekly Den', No. 19 that he does not exclude the possibility that investigation will find witnesses to the list's existence. Indeed, Argumenty i fakty, No. 38 has published the list reconstituted from memory by the KGB officers involved. (Victor Yasmann) KGB SELLS DOCUMENTS ABROAD. At a time when researchers are starting to study dossiers from the Party and KGB organizations, the KGB itself has begun to sell abroad secret documents from the Stalin era, TSN reported October 8. The first cache included seven reports about Soviet intelligence activity in England in 1941. TSN commented that the price charged by the KGB is too high by Western standards, while the coded documents are difficult for research. The campaign to sell the KGB treasure trove began last year, when the agency and the Union of Soviet Writers created a joint commission headed by poet Vitalii Shetalinsky. The commission dealt with confiscated literary works of repressed writers and transcripts of interrogations of Isaak Babel, Anna Akhmatova, and Mikhail Bulgakov; it was sponsored by British Signals International Trust in Oxford. (Victor Yasmann) TRANSFORMATION OF RSFSR DOSAAF. The RSFSR Voluntary Society for Cooperation with the Army, Navy and Fleet (DOSAAF) has been tranformed into the RSFSR Defense Sport-Technical Organization (OSTO), Pravda reported October 1. According to the statute adopted at its inaugural congress in Pensa, the aim of the society will be preparation for "working life and service in the Armed Forces," which does not differ markedly from that of DOSAAF. (Victor Yasmann) SOLZHENITSYN WELCOMES DISINTEGRATION OF USSR. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn has published a personal statement on the future of the Soviet Union in the newspaper Trud of October 8--the first since the appearance of his brochure "How to Restructure Russia" a year ago. He welcomed the achievement of sovereignty by the former Soviet republics, and said he does not believe that a confederation of sovereign states could function. Solzhenitsyn stressed that the future of the Union will be decided by the December 1 referendum in Ukraine. He emphasized the importance of ensuring that the will of the people of Ukraine finds true expression during that referendum. (Alexander Rahr) CONFLICT CONCERNING HASSIDIC MANUSCRIPTS GAINS MOMENTUM. TASS reported on October 8 that the management of the Lenin Library in Moscow, where Hassidic books and manuscripts are being kept (see Daily Report, October 8), sent a protest to the Committee for Culture of the USSR Supreme Soviet. The protest was directed against the Hassidic community's demand that the unique books and manuscripts be returned to the community. The Committee has answered that a return of these cultural treasures would be "illegal and impermissible." The Hassidic community has filed suit against the museum, but the suit has not yet come to trial. (Oxana Antic) COSSACK VOLUNTEER UNITS TO MAINTAIN ORDER IN ROSTOV OBLAST. The executive committee of the Rostov oblast soviet has decided to create volunteer Cossack units (druzhiny) to maintain public order in the Don villages and cities, TASS reported October 8. The Cossacks will help to patrol the streets, maintain order on public transport and at mass events, assist in the fight against hooliganism, drunkenness, moonshine, and drug addiction, and assist the procuracy, the courts, and the tax inspectors. The Cossacks have been agitating for some time to be given an official role in law and order activities. (Ann Sheehy) RSFSR SUPSOV PRESIDIUM RESOLUTION ON CHECHENO-INGUSHETIA. On October 8 the Presidium of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet adopted a resolution on the situation in Checheno-Ingushetia after hearing a report from Vice-President Aleksandr Rutskoi on his visit to the republic, TASS reported October 8. The resolution condemns the activities of unofficial armed formations and the Executive Committee of the Congress of the Chechen People for appropriating the powers of the organs of authority, states that the only organ of legal state power in the republic until new elections to the Supreme Soviet is the Supreme State Council formed by the previous Supreme Soviet, and orders the armed formations to hand over their weapons by midnight on October 10. (Ann Sheehy) INGUSH DECIDE NOT TO PRESS FOR SEPARATE REPUBLIC AT PRESENT. The recent congress of the Ingush people in Groznyi decided not to demand the division of Checheno-Ingushetia into two republics at least for the present, Vesti reported October 8. The majority voted in favor of waiting until the Ingush got back the Prigorodnyi raion given to North Ossetia when the Ingush were deported in 1944. (Ann Sheehy) USSR--OTHER REPUBLICS GEORGIAN ROUNDUP. Several hundred anti-government protesters demonstrated October 8 outside the Georgian parliament, and sixty Communist deputies were banned from parliament on the grounds that the CP is "illegal" in Georgia, Western news agencies reported October 8. Former Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze told Nezavisimaya gazeta that he was willing to mediate between Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia and the opposition, but that he doubted that his services would be welcomed. Tengiz Kitovani, head of the rebel faction of the Georgian National Guard, was quoted by Interfax October 8 as stating that he will drop his demand for Gamsakhurdia's resignation if the opposition's other demands are met. (Liz Fuller) SOBCHAK ON TAJIKISTAN. St Petersburg mayor Anatolii Sobchak, sent by Gorbachev to seek an end to the confrontation between conservatives and the opposition in Tajikistan, told a press conference in Moscow that an agreement signed by the disputants is a small step, not a major victory, according to a TASS report of October 8. Future developments in the republic depend on how the agreement, which ended the weeks of demonstrations and an opposition hunger strike, is observed, said Sobchak, who added that he sees a "third way" for Tajikistan between Communist dictatorship and Muslim fundamentalism. This third way would combine democratic Islam and existing nomenklatura power structures. According to the TASS report, Sobchak doubted that Western-style democracy could succeed in Tajikistan. (Bess Brown) KAZAKH COSMONAUT STUDYING ARAL. Kazakh cosmonaut Tokhtar Aubakirov, who was hastily added to the team sent to the Mir space station last week, is conducting a number of biological experiments and observing dust and particulate diffusion from the Aral seabed, the head of Kazakhstan's Academy of Sciences told a TASS correspondent on October 8. The inclusion of Aubakirov, who has been shown on Austrian TV assisting the Austrian member of the team in performing medical studies, seems to have been a gesture to Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev, who has long complained that Kazakhstan gained nothing from the Soviet space program. (Bess Brown) UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES LIBERAL CITIZENSHIP LAW. After a two-week break, the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet on October 8 resumed its work and passed, on its second reading, what appears to be a liberal law on citizenship. According to a report from Kiev from the Ukrainian Information Agency Ukrinform and TASS October 8, the Ukrainian citizenship law had generated considerable controversy and a compromise had to be worked out which permits dual citizenship on the basis of bilateral agreements with other states. (Bohdan Nahaylo) UKRAINE SET ON RADICAL ECONOMIC REFORMS. Privatization of businesses and land ownership, as well as the creation of a Ukrainian stock exchange, are on the agenda of the session of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet which opened October 8. Elaborating on this, the Chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament's Commission on Economic Reform, Volodymyr Pylypchuk, told Western agencies October 8 that Ukraine plans to introduce its own currency by the middle of next year and to embark on a course of radical economic reform. He said that Ukraine would guard its economic independence and would refuse "to allow any central monopoly on foreign economic activity, a single central bank or any control by the center over foreign credits." Pylypchuk added, though, that because of the poor harvest and the fragility of Ukraine's economy, strict "anti-market" measures--including tight limits on exports and a coupon system--would have to remain in force until next spring. (Bohdan Nahaylo) ROMANIANS IN NORTHERN BUKOVINA AIR DEMANDS. Reporting from northern Bukovina's capital Chernovtsy, a special correspondent for Newsday wrote in the paper's October 3 issue that Romanians there have recently organized a series of rallies and pickets in front of the oblast soviet building. Their demands include recognition of the Romanian language as official language in the oblast along with Ukrainian; official recognition of the Romanian tricolor flag in the oblast; the return of buildings confiscated by the authorities from Romanian cultural societies following the Soviet annexation; and more church services in Romanian. The rallies have been organized by the Eminescu Society for Romanian Culture and an affiliated Romanian church society. Thus far the oblast soviet has not granted the demands. (Vladimir Socor) GAGAUZ LEADERS OFFER TO HOST SOVIET TROOPS FROM POLAND. Reporting from the Gagauz administrative center of Comrat in southern Moldavia, a special correspondent for L'Express cited Gagauz leaders as wishing for "a contingent of the Soviet army to come and establish itself on that territory." Gagauz leaders hope that a Soviet unit withdrawing from Poland could be transferred to the would-be Gagauz republic, the correspondent reported in the French weekly's October 4 issue. (Vladimir Socor) BALTIC STATES MVD TROOP WITHDRAWAL FROM LATVIA, LITHUANIA. Quoting Latvia's Minister of Internal Affairs Aloizs Vaznis, the Baltic News Agency reported on October 8 that Soviet MVD troops were starting to withdraw from Latvia. All of these troops are expected to depart by the end of the year. Western news agencies reported on October 9 that Lithuania and the USSR have agreed that the MVD forces would start to leave that country in March 1992. About 10,000 MVD troops are stationed in the Lithuanian cities of Vilnius, Kaunas, Siaulai, and Snieckus. Lithuanians want them to complete the withdrawal in two years, but Soviet authorities estimate that five years are needed. (Dzintra Bungs) LANDSBERGIS RENEWS CALL FOR TROOP WITHDRAWAL FROM BALTICS. While visiting England, Lithuanian President Vytautas Landsbergis issued a new call for a swift withdrawal of the USSR's troops from his country, according to Western agency reports of October 8. He said that there was a danger of a new coup in Moscow and that it was imperative completely to remove the Soviet Army from Lithuania before that happened. He said that British Prime Minister John Major supports Lithuanians' desire for a quick withdrawal of Soviet soldiers from their territory and would press the Soviet Union on the issue. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIAN PARLIAMENT DISCUSSES CITIZENSHIP. On October 8 the Latvian Supreme Council started to discuss legislations concerning citizenship of the Republic of Latvia. The discussions were heated and will continue today. Two sets of proposals--one prepared by a working group headed by Juris Bojars and the other by Janis Lagzdins--were considered. Many Latvians feel that the Supreme Council does not have the legal authority to deal with these issues since the deputies were elected to the Supreme Soviet, a precursor to the Supreme Council when Latvia was still a part of the USSR. Many non-Latvians are concerned about how such legislations will affect their lives in the restored Republic of Latvia. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIAN, LITHUANIAN DIPLOMATS PRESENT CREDENTIALS AT UN. According to an RFE/RL correspondent's report of October 8 from New York, Anatol Dinbergs and Anicetas Simutis presented their credentials as ambassadors to the United Nations to UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar earlier that day. Dinbergs had served as Latvia's chargé d'affaires in Washington since the 1970s and started his diplomatic career in 1932. Simutis was Lithuania's Consul General in New York for the past 24 years and began his diplomatic career in 1931. (Dzintra Bungs) LATVIAN-JAPANESE DIPLOMATIC RELA-TIONS REESTABLISHED. On October 8 Latvia and Japan exchanged official notes to reestablish diplomatic relations. This was done during the the visit of Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Muneo Suzuki to Riga. Radio Riga reported on October 8 that until Japan can send a permanent envoy to Riga, the Japanese ambassador to the USSR will also represent his country in Latvia. (Dzintra Bungs) LITHUANIA JOINS ILO. Western agencies reported on October 8 that Lithuania that day became the 150th member of the International Labor Organization. (Dzintra Bungs)
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